An interview with Yvensky, Class of 2023, as he sets out to support his family

We first introduced you to Yvensky in 2014 as “an artist with a sweet demeanor, incredible smile, and lots of love to go around.”

Nearly 10 years later, these words still ring true.

Yvensky, who began attending Grace Emmanuel School in 2007, graduates this summer. Many past visitors to the school will undoubtedly recognize him—through the years, he has sent countless drawings home with his new friends.

Yvensky (pink backpack straps) in November 2007 with his first kindergarten classmates
Yvensky graduates from kindergarten in 2010
Maudeline with two former kindergarten students who are now ready to graduate, Jesula and Yvensky

Maudeline, now the secretary at Grace Emmanuel School, taught Yvensky in kindergarten. She spoke with him as he prepares to embark on a new chapter during this abysmal time in his country’s history.

Tell me about your family.

My mom has 6 children—4 daughters and 2 sons. I live with my four sisters, stepdad, and my mom. We are a Christian family. My mom is a merchant of eggs and bananas. She takes responsibility of the whole house.

What do you remember about your earliest years at GES?

My teachers were always complimenting me on the talent I had as an artist.

Yvensky, 1st grade
Yvensky with his mom in 2016

What has kept you motivated to excel in school despite all the difficulties? 

My mom. I’ve always wanted to help her because she works hard to take care of us, and my dad has never taken care of me. My mom has done everything for me.

What has been the best memory of your senior year?

Our senior trip in March for Philosopher’s Day, when we all were relaxing without thinking about what would happen on April 19.

Yvensky, far right, with the other young men in his graduating class on Philosopher’s Day.

Can you tell me about your experience on April 19? What were you doing when you realized Source Matelas was under attack?

I was waiting for a taptap when I heard lots of shooting. I thought it was just the people from the brigade [Source Matelas’ defenders]. When I got to my house [in Cabaret], I heard that Source Matelas was under attack. What made me the most scared was that I couldn’t return to the school to look for my little sister Jennifer who had still been taking exams. Everyone was running around chaotically, we just sat in shock waiting for news from her. After a little time, I saw one of the school staff members bringing her home on his motorcycle. It was a huge relief for my mom and all of us.

Are you able to stay at your house right now? Do you have plans to go elsewhere?

For now, yes, but the area is not safe at all. There are lots of kidnappings and gang members entering people’s houses. I’m waiting to finish my exams to go to the Dominican Republic.

What do you think you’ll miss the most about GES next year?

Our community, especially some of my teachers like Samedy Daniel and Franky St Fleury.

Who at GES has had the greatest impact on who you are and what you believe?

The director of instruction, Wilfrid Leconte, because he always gives us lots of good advice and encourages us to stay courageous no matter the situation.

Yvensky during his final exams last summer

What do you want to do after you graduate?

I would like to study medicine or political science but the situation is not good at all for now in Haiti. I will go to the Dominican Republic to find my uncle and search for work because I’m already grown and my mom very much needs support.

What do you want to accomplish with your life? Why?

Lots of things. Help my mom and brother and sisters, become a great politician to help the country, and be a good role model for everyone.

Yvensky with three of his sisters in 2019.

Who gives you the best advice? What do they say?

Kino, one of my best friends. He always encourages me when I want to quit and gives me lots of moral support. He motivates me most to finish my homework.

Who in your life is most proud of you and why?

My mom and my godmother because they always believe in me.

Yvensky prays with his classmates in 2010.

Tell me about your faith.

I always go to church with my mom but I’m not yet baptized.

Is there anything you would like to say to your sponsors in Minnesota?

A great big thanks! Lots and lots of thanks because they’ve helped my mom with my education when it was one more burden for her. God will continue to bless them for all they’ve done for me. They replaced my dad who wasn’t present in my life.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with me?

My life is becoming more difficult every day because my mom is finding it impossible to take care of us with the instability of the area.

How can we pray for you?

Pray for me to have health, and for me to always study to find work to help my family.

Maudeline Saint Fleur is the secretary for Grace Emmanuel School. Maudeline began at GES as a kindergarten teacher in 2008, transitioning to secretary in 2014. She is an invaluable member of the GES team, called by God to serve Him in this place. Maudeline lives with her husband and three daughters.